As the regularly scheduled legislative session drew to a close, Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R, I, C – Batavia) was pleased to have been able to have over a dozen pieces of his legislation passed, despite a banner year for Albany’s notorious dysfunction.
“Despite all the chaos, changes in leadership and gridlock, I was able to get some common-sense and important pieces of legislation passed that will greatly help the communities in Western New York, as well as the rest of the state,” said Hawley.
Of the 15 pieces of legislation that Hawley sponsored, which passed the Assembly, five bills specifically helped local communities in Western New York. These bills include measures to help town court proceedings in the towns of Elba, Oakfield and Batavia, and the city of Batavia. These four municipalities are leading the way in the state for finding an innovative solution to their individual need for new and upgraded court facilities, and will help local governments save taxpayer dollars by sharing services and building a joint court facility.
Perhaps Hawley’s largest statewide initiatives that passed were measures to help firefighters. Assembly Bill 2733-A establishes the volunteer firefighter and volunteer emergency services recruitment and retention fund. Assembly Bill 6051-A allows firefighters to operate a fire truck without possessing a commercial driver’s license, saving fire districts endless amounts of time, which can be better spent training, as well as thousands of dollars annually. This measure was passed by both houses and signed into law.
Hawley’s passed legislation also includes a number of initiatives to help those with disabilities. Assembly Bill 7848 requires access aisles of handicapped parking spaces to be marked with a sign and stripes, and Assembly Bill 7849 requires that handicapped parking spaces be at least 8 feet wide.
The Assemblyman also played an instrumental role in leading the fight against some of the more dangerous bills that came to the floor, such as the “Farm Death Bill.” Hawley stated, “The fight against this harmful bill brought together farmers, farm workers and agribusinesses, and bipartisan legislators from across the state. This opposition was an example of Albany at its finest. Unfortunately, its passage in the Assembly highlighted the standard dysfunction in the State Capitol, but I am hopeful that our collective voices will help prevent this bill from coming to fruition in the Senate.”
Hawley also led the charge for other important measures such as property tax relief. During and after budget negotiations the Assemblyman stood on the Assembly floor to demand relief for overburdened homeowners and businesses, specifically calling on both houses and the Governor to reinstate the STAR Rebate Program and restore cuts made to the traditional STAR program. Hawley also called on the Governor to make smart usage of the one billion in federal stimulus dollars which have not yet been appropriated. He commented, “We need to begin looking at ways to make it easier for residents and businesses to survive. Maintaining jobs and attracting new ones are necessary to keep our economy moving.”